For me, the most wonderful possibility of mixed reality headsets is the chance to draw in mid-air in 3D with multiple people. This was my great dream for over 8 years. Now it is becoming available soon in Spatiate on Magic Leap One (also on phones all shared together, whoa!) Still in beta, yet already so full featured and solid, such an exciting time!
Since the dawn of language (probably) we have been speaking with our hands to add in flare, expression, illustration and beyond. Now with mixed reality headsets like Magic Leap we have a form factor that allows mid-air drawing to become a natural part of talking.
The first thing we can do, before speaking, is usually finger painting. Now, with mixed reality and spatial computing, we can return to a natural form of expression in a totally new way. Imagine a time before there were words, we are in the time just before another explosion of expressive possibility.
Moreover, with the power of avatars, we can now talk with anyone anywhere at any time while sharing this new mid air drawing layer.
I am powerfully fascinated by this affordance as part of the future of language. Drawing in the space between us can open up a new era, beyond mere high bandwidth information and into true high bandwidth meaning.
The videos below are of an amazing jam session that happened over the internet. It was so freaking cool to reconnect with Steve Lukas as an avatar. Steve started the Spatiate project and was my first demo of Magic Leap (and the source of my ability to alpha test Spatiate). At one point there were 8 people in the same shared drawing space all split between 8 different locations. This quick draw jam session is a historic moment for me, and perhaps for the entire Spatial Computing world: the era of shared 3D mixed reality drawing across space is here, and it is so freaking fun!!
Sketches done between Spatiate participants can be saved as a 3D model, totally changing the nature of ‘notes’ in conversation. Perhaps we can move beyond napkin sketches to go back to the workstation and turn our daily lives and conversations into powerful generative design sessions and art making exercises, with no more effort than it takes to just be as we are.
This medium of ‘projected light’ is what I have been waiting for as an artist for many years. Unlike 3D modeling in a computer, we now have a medium that allows for 3D expression at the scale of being in a direct way. I will explore VR drawing as well, yet something about the mixed reality drawing is truly the most captivating. To draw with the world in this new way is hypnotic and beautiful as an experience, and the results are fascinating even at this early beta stage.
Back in November of 2018 I used an alpha version of Spatiate to make my first of what I hope will be many (much more polished haha) videos using the power of this expressive real time graphic affordance for communication. The old adage of ‘show don’t tell’ can take on a real-time meaning and has the chance to totally upend the traditional workflow of shooting video content, in addition to eventually evolving the nature of language itself.